Japanese Films at the Glasgow Film Festival 2016

The Glasgow Film Festival takes place from 17-28 February at the Glasgow Film Theatre and there are four Japanese films that are set to be screened over that time. None of these are premieres and all of them have been on the festival circuit throughout the entirety of 2015 but if you haven’t seen any of these on the big screen then this is your chance. There are two live-action and two anime films but there are many similarities from the year made to the fact that every film has a supernatural element to it.

I have not seen any of these since three of them have home cinema releases planned for this year and I thought I can wait but I have friends who have seen them all and they have recommended The Boy and the Beast.

Here are the films:

The Boy and the Beast    

The Boy and the Beast Film Poster
The Boy and the Beast Film Poster

バケモノの子 Bakemono no Ko

Running Time: 128 mins.

Director: Mamoru Hosoda

Starring: Koji Yakusho (Kumatetsu), Shota Sometani (Kyuuta – Teen), Aoi Miyazaki (Kyuuta – Young), Haru Kuroki (Ichirohiko – Young), Yo Oizumi (Tatara), Lily Franky (Monk Momoaki), Mamoru Miyano (Ichirohiko – Old),

Website   IMDB    ANN    MAL

Mamoru Hosoda’s latest film has been a box-office smash and a darling of both critics and audiences. Many people I know who have seen it rate it highly. If you are a fan of Hosoda’s previous works like The Wolf ChildrenSummer Wars, and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time I think it would be safe to say that this one is worth watching what with the excellent animation, voice actors, and more.

A lonely boy named Kyuta is on the run from his family in Tokyo’s Shibuya ward following the death of his moter. He finds that there is another world, the bakemono realm, Jutenkai. Typically, the human world and Jutenkai do not meet and humans aren’t welcome in the world of the monsters but the boy gets lost in the bakemono world and becomes the disciple of a lonely bakemono named Kumatetsu (Yakusho) who takes the boy under his wing and renames him Kyuuta (Miyazaki/Sometani).


When Marnie was There    

When Marnie Was There Film Poster
When Marnie Was There Film Poster

思い出のマーニー Omoide no Mani

Running Time: 103 mins.

Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi

Starring: Kasumi Arimura (Marnie), Sara Takatsuki (Anna), Hitomi Kuroki (Hisako), Susumu Terajima (Kiyomasa Oiwa), Yo Oizumi (Dr. Yamashita), Nanako Matsushima (Yoriko), Kazuko Yoshiyuki (Baaya),

Website    IMDB   ANN    MAL

This is supposedly the last film from Studio Ghibli and it is directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, the chap who helmed Arrietty. The film is an adaptation of a book written by British novelist Joan G. Robinson which was published in 1967. The setting has been updated and it has moved from Britain to modern Japan.

Synopsis: A twelve-year-old girl named Marnie (Kasumi Arimura) has journeyed to a small coastal town in Hokkaido from her native Sapporo to better cope with her asthma. She is staying with relatives and leads a solitary existence because she finds it hard to deal with other children due to a dark incident in her past. One day, she sees a western-style house that the villagers refer to as Marsh House and spies a mysterious blonde girl named Anna (Sara Takatsuki) in the windows. She heads over to hee and the two become friends but Anna has a dark secret…


Journey to the Shore   

Journey to the Shore Film Poster 2
Journey to the Shore Film Poster 2

岸辺の旅 Kishibe no Tabe

Running Time: 128 mins.

Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Starring: Tadanobu Asano, Eri Fukatsu, Masao Komatsu, Yu Aoi, Akira Emoto,

Website   IMDB

Kiyoshi Kurosawa has adaptated the 2010 novel Kishibe no Tabi by Kazumi Yumoto and while it is no Tokyo Sonata it earned him the Best Director prize in the Un Certain Regard category when it screened at Cannes. The film is an elegiac drama and has earned a reputation that suggests an audience might come away feeling this is profound or dull. It has a great cast such as lead actor Tadanobu Asano, star of VitalIchi the Killer, and Gohatto and Watashi no Otoko. Eri Fukatsu is the leading lady who put in a star turn in the crime drama Villain.

Synopsis: Mizuki’s (Eri Fukatsu) husband Yusuke (Tadanobu Asano) disappeared for three years. Then one day, he comes back and asks Mizuki to go on a journey with him visiting all of the places he went to and all of the people he met while he was travelling. Mizuki begins to understand why Yusuke went on his journey.


Love and Peace   

Love and Peace Film Poster
Love and Peace Film Poster

ラブ&ピース Rabu&Pisu

Running Time: 117 mins.

Director: Sion Sono

Starring:  Hiroki Hasegawa, Kumiko Aso, Tohiyuki Nishida, Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Eita Okuno, Makita Sports, Erina Mano, Megumi Kagurazaka, Miyuki Matsuda

Website     IMDB

If you want spectacle then go and see this film. It comes after a series of heartfelt drama and looks like Sono’s return to his slightly nuttier roots. It is supposedly based on a script that Sono wrote many years ago, around the time of Suicide Club. Taking the lead is Hiroki Hasegawa, the mad cinephile in the yakuza movie comedy Why Don’t You Play in Hell? and Kumiko Aso, the waif running around in Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s horror film Pulse. The film distributor Third Window Films will release it on DVD later this year.

Ryoichi (Hiroki Hasegawa) once dreamed of becoming a punk rocker but he became a timid salaryman at a musical instrument parts company. Life is calm but he has feelings for an office lady (Kumiko Aso) he can’t express and he feels he wants more from his circumstances which is when fate strikes!

One day, he randomly buys a turtle and names it Pikadon. A series of events occur and Ryoichi’s dreams of being a rock star might be about to come true! However, it might also lead to the end of the world…


Tickets went on sale on Monday. To find out more about times and prices, please visit the festival website.

6 thoughts on “Japanese Films at the Glasgow Film Festival 2016

  1. It’s a small, but fine selection. You could order Marnie from yesasia, I think it’s been available for a while. Possibly also Boy and Beast (I have not checked that though). Want to see both of these very much!

    1. Great to get a comment from you again.

      I think the one I’d most want to watch on the big screen is The Boy and the Beast. For some reason, Marnie hasn’t seized my imagination. Still, most of these will be released on DVD/Blu-ray in the UK so I can wait.

      The next festival post has a bigger and more varied selection of films.

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